Hot Best Seller

The Widow's War

Availability: Ready to download

Married for twenty years to Edward Berry, Lyddie is used to the trials of being a whaler's wife in the Cape Cod village of Satucket, Massachusetts—running their house herself during her husband's long absences at sea, living with the daily uncertainty that Edward will simply not return. And when her worst fear is realized, she finds herself doubly cursed. She is overwhelme Married for twenty years to Edward Berry, Lyddie is used to the trials of being a whaler's wife in the Cape Cod village of Satucket, Massachusetts—running their house herself during her husband's long absences at sea, living with the daily uncertainty that Edward will simply not return. And when her worst fear is realized, she finds herself doubly cursed. She is overwhelmed by grief, and her property and rights are now legally in the hands of her nearest male relative: her daughter's overbearing husband, whom Lyddie cannot abide. Lyddie decides to challenge both law and custom for control of her destiny, but she soon discovers the price of her bold "war" for personal freedom to be heartbreakingly dear. Includes the fascinating "story behind the story" of The Widow's War, a map of colonial Brewster, and a driving tour of the village of Satucket.

*advertisement

Compare

Married for twenty years to Edward Berry, Lyddie is used to the trials of being a whaler's wife in the Cape Cod village of Satucket, Massachusetts—running their house herself during her husband's long absences at sea, living with the daily uncertainty that Edward will simply not return. And when her worst fear is realized, she finds herself doubly cursed. She is overwhelme Married for twenty years to Edward Berry, Lyddie is used to the trials of being a whaler's wife in the Cape Cod village of Satucket, Massachusetts—running their house herself during her husband's long absences at sea, living with the daily uncertainty that Edward will simply not return. And when her worst fear is realized, she finds herself doubly cursed. She is overwhelmed by grief, and her property and rights are now legally in the hands of her nearest male relative: her daughter's overbearing husband, whom Lyddie cannot abide. Lyddie decides to challenge both law and custom for control of her destiny, but she soon discovers the price of her bold "war" for personal freedom to be heartbreakingly dear. Includes the fascinating "story behind the story" of The Widow's War, a map of colonial Brewster, and a driving tour of the village of Satucket.

30 review for The Widow's War

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Historical fiction at its best. Story of a woman struggling to retain a little autonomy at a time in American history that did not allow for this. After her husband dies, the widow of the title is determined to hold onto as much of her independent as possible but the law of the land dictates that she is now under the care of her closest male relative, a boorish son-in-law. She uses as much of the law as she can to fight the system. A fascinating look into life in New England in the mid-1700s.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nikie Elwood

    This book was a cheap purchase on my Nook and it has been given great reviews but I am not a fan. I really liked Gunning's description of an 18th century whaling village on Cape Cod; I thought the descriptions were beautiful, but that is about all I liked. I thought it was a bodice ripper disguised as historical fiction. I hate it when an author inserts 21st century thinking and mores into historical settings. Within months of her husband dying in a whaling accident, our heroine, Lyddie, has pas This book was a cheap purchase on my Nook and it has been given great reviews but I am not a fan. I really liked Gunning's description of an 18th century whaling village on Cape Cod; I thought the descriptions were beautiful, but that is about all I liked. I thought it was a bodice ripper disguised as historical fiction. I hate it when an author inserts 21st century thinking and mores into historical settings. Within months of her husband dying in a whaling accident, our heroine, Lyddie, has passionate sex with the Indian neighbor, gives up her belief in God, is banned from attending church, and has hot thoughts about her lawyer. Whew! Where did she find the energy to fight with her son-in-law over a widow's right to property, which is the pretext of this novel. I didn't find it to be what it advertised!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Britany

    Massachusetts, early 1800s, Lyddie Berry finds herself suddenly widowed, and back then the laws stipulated that she has to move in with her son in law- Nathan Clarke (Evil Chauvinist!) and she stands up for herself and decides to live in her 1/3rd of her old house. Interesting to read about the lack of women's rights during this time period. I just wanted so much more! The characters were difficult to connect to, and towards the end I didn't really understand her relationships with the men in he Massachusetts, early 1800s, Lyddie Berry finds herself suddenly widowed, and back then the laws stipulated that she has to move in with her son in law- Nathan Clarke (Evil Chauvinist!) and she stands up for herself and decides to live in her 1/3rd of her old house. Interesting to read about the lack of women's rights during this time period. I just wanted so much more! The characters were difficult to connect to, and towards the end I didn't really understand her relationships with the men in her life, I kind of shrugged to myself and thought "What's the point of this?" So many things that didn't really add value to the book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Interesting novel about an 18th century widow who tries to maintain some independence of thought and action, after the death of her whaler husband of 20 years. She fights against the strictures on women of her day and against her overbearing son-in-law's controlling. Her main ally is a lawyer. Much food for thought here; wow, I'm glad I live in this day and age!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shauna Hruby

    I loved reading this book--it quickly became very obsessive. Most of the time, I read books in snatches here and there, easily setting my book down to attend to the needs of the day; but this book grabbed me and wouldn't permit me to let it go. I postponed dinner and waved my children away: let me finish! I rooted for Lyddie from the first chapter, and I was caught up in her plight for independence, rights and freedom. Acknowledging that my rooting may be influenced by my modern woman's perspect I loved reading this book--it quickly became very obsessive. Most of the time, I read books in snatches here and there, easily setting my book down to attend to the needs of the day; but this book grabbed me and wouldn't permit me to let it go. I postponed dinner and waved my children away: let me finish! I rooted for Lyddie from the first chapter, and I was caught up in her plight for independence, rights and freedom. Acknowledging that my rooting may be influenced by my modern woman's perspective, I nevertheless felt that Gunning stayed true to her 18th century tale--it was an insightful bit of early American historical fiction, and never rang false.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    Okay, I'll try not to gush, because this is not a gushy (is that a word?) kind of book. It's as a hard-as-nails story about a widow living in the 1700's; the choices she had to make (not much choice)and the consequences of her choices. I love Sally Gunning's writing style and if I had highlighted all the beautiful prose I would have quickly gone over the limit. Very visual, simple, and eloquent. I couldn't help identifying with the widow since I once lived alone, and even fought the "system" a tim Okay, I'll try not to gush, because this is not a gushy (is that a word?) kind of book. It's as a hard-as-nails story about a widow living in the 1700's; the choices she had to make (not much choice)and the consequences of her choices. I love Sally Gunning's writing style and if I had highlighted all the beautiful prose I would have quickly gone over the limit. Very visual, simple, and eloquent. I couldn't help identifying with the widow since I once lived alone, and even fought the "system" a time or two myself. Sometimes she was very courageous and sometimes she made choices by not making choices. Her hard fought independence did not always make her happy, and she sometimes wondered about her decisions. Yes, that is life. This is definitely a book I did not want to end, and one that I will read again. Although I have learned to be cautious about reading sequels, I have already downloaded "Bound." The consequence of that choice remains to be seen...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Sad. I was REALLY liking this book. I would even say I was LOVING this book. I love historical fiction and strong female characters. It was fascinating to learn how the women in the 1760's were treated and what their life was like if they were widowed. I loved the characters in this book and the story/plot was intriguing. However, the last 3rd of the book left me so disappointed -- the characters morals, decisions, and even the plot left me annoyed, disgusted, and completely at odds with this bo Sad. I was REALLY liking this book. I would even say I was LOVING this book. I love historical fiction and strong female characters. It was fascinating to learn how the women in the 1760's were treated and what their life was like if they were widowed. I loved the characters in this book and the story/plot was intriguing. However, the last 3rd of the book left me so disappointed -- the characters morals, decisions, and even the plot left me annoyed, disgusted, and completely at odds with this book. It crossed my personal "inappropriate and icky" threshold as well. The book had such promise, but sadly, I can't recommend it nor would I read it again if I'd known where it was headed.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    The prose language held a convincing tone for the period. The locale descriptions superlative. We know the people, and their daily tasks and conversation habits. Solid story and the property rights issue was illustrative. But honestly, it was so revisionist in the pace of her changing choices and thoughts on self-identity that it made my believability meter go off like a siren. Women of the mid 18th century don't progress to 20th century choices and sensibilities, let alone actions, with such ju The prose language held a convincing tone for the period. The locale descriptions superlative. We know the people, and their daily tasks and conversation habits. Solid story and the property rights issue was illustrative. But honestly, it was so revisionist in the pace of her changing choices and thoughts on self-identity that it made my believability meter go off like a siren. Women of the mid 18th century don't progress to 20th century choices and sensibilities, let alone actions, with such jumps within such time periods. The entire love triangle angle and much of the events of religious non-belief! Somehow that was just too far "off" perceptions for the time, IMHO. It made a good story, but I'm not sure I would classify this as historical fiction. Much more like period romance to fantasy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Beata Bowen

    I wish I could give this book two and a half stars.... It was better than "ok," but it was a bit disappointing. What started off as an interesting historical account of one woman's struggle for independence and a sense of self, soon descended into occasional pornographic descriptions of coupling and soap opera-like intrigue. Really, this could have been a much more serious book, but instead you might almost expect to see Fabio on the cover (wearing a wig, of course).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    3.5 review to follow.

  11. 4 out of 5

    K. Lincoln

    Sally Gunning has done her homework. She knows what Colonial Cape Cod folk ate, read, fished, and cooked. But strangely enough, she also seems to be able to look into their hearts: a widowed woman stubbornly set against signing away her rightful 'widow's thirds' of her husbands estate just to satisfy a son-in-law's greed, a Native American who walks a line between his own nation/beliefs and that of the white man's village, a lawyer who is caught up in the beginning stirrings of ideas about prope Sally Gunning has done her homework. She knows what Colonial Cape Cod folk ate, read, fished, and cooked. But strangely enough, she also seems to be able to look into their hearts: a widowed woman stubbornly set against signing away her rightful 'widow's thirds' of her husbands estate just to satisfy a son-in-law's greed, a Native American who walks a line between his own nation/beliefs and that of the white man's village, a lawyer who is caught up in the beginning stirrings of ideas about property that will lead to American Independence. The strength in Lyddie Berry's story aren't the completely believable way that historical period is brought to life, but the way in which the author takes you on the journey her characters take even when their choices are difficult and controversial. Lyddie Berry's whaling husband dies, and it is the way of those times that she should go to live in her son-in-law's house and be taken care of. But Lyddie doesn't want to be consigned to a corner and have all her worldly posessions controlled by her son-in-law, she wants to make her own way, even if it means tieing her name in a scandalous way to her native american neighbor. Read The Widow's War to learn history. Read the Widow's war to follow along a nascent feminist in colonial America. Read the Widow's war to cheer and cringe at Lyddie's defiance. But mostly read The Widow's War to make you ponder where your own limits are; who are you willing to defy, what are you willing to do to make your way in life? And what are the limits of your own self will? This Book's Food Designation Rating: Corn chowder for the earthy, fundamental tastes of colonial history, with the underlying sweetness of the characters who will linger on your tongue long after the pages are turned.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    This was the first Sally Gunning book I read, and definitely also my favorite. Gunning's particular genre is historical fiction set in 18th century New England in the decades before the break out of the Revolutionary War. I've read several of Gunning's books, but The Widow's War remains my favorite because the characters are so compelling. When Lydia's husband dies in a whaling accident, she loses the right to her property and home and becomes the dependent of her really deplorable son-in-law. H This was the first Sally Gunning book I read, and definitely also my favorite. Gunning's particular genre is historical fiction set in 18th century New England in the decades before the break out of the Revolutionary War. I've read several of Gunning's books, but The Widow's War remains my favorite because the characters are so compelling. When Lydia's husband dies in a whaling accident, she loses the right to her property and home and becomes the dependent of her really deplorable son-in-law. Her only sliver of independence is her "widow's third", by law she retains use (but not ownership) of 1/3 of her husband's estate, or else 1/3 of the profits from its sale. Making the most of what she has, and with the advice of a reluctant but kind local lawyer, she decides to occupy the third of the house that is hers by law. Her occupation however, prevents the sale that her greedy son-in-law badly wants, and so the widow's war is put in motion. Lydia is a great character, and she makes this a good read. Gunning's other books are also pre-revolutionary war figures caught up in legal dramas. "Bound" deals with indentured servitude, "The Rebellion of Jane Clarke" is the story of a witness to the Boston Massacre. The author's background as a crime novelist is reflected in the interest in legal procedure, but her characters make even English Common Law into good human drama. The Widow's War though, again, easily my fave.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melissa T

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This started off so promising, but just fell flat. I did appreciate the author's research, and felt she accurately portrayed a typical day in the life of a colonist woman, as well as many of the attitudes and prejudices too. But, I sincerely doubt a woman who was promiscuous, and with a Native American no less, would be able to still remain a relatively cheerful member of society. Sure, she was shunned by the church and church-goers, but somehow I doubt that alone would have been sufficient, in This started off so promising, but just fell flat. I did appreciate the author's research, and felt she accurately portrayed a typical day in the life of a colonist woman, as well as many of the attitudes and prejudices too. But, I sincerely doubt a woman who was promiscuous, and with a Native American no less, would be able to still remain a relatively cheerful member of society. Sure, she was shunned by the church and church-goers, but somehow I doubt that alone would have been sufficient, in that time period. Also, and this bothered me more than anything, the plot had many unresolved endings. It began with such intriguing layers, and then, often, just went nowhere. Which, incidentally, seems to be where the sex scenes were inserted. Was the forbidden attraction supposed to get me over the rocky plot? If so, it clearly did not, and in fact, was just one more impediment. I also wondered if perhaps the author was holding back, since she was writing a series, not wanting to reveal too much until the next book. But, if that was the case, she clearly forgot that her current book needed to be well written and intruding enough to entice the reader to continue. And, for me at least, the odds and ends of a story that Widow's War tragically became extinguished any desire to read more by this author. Disappointing, to say the least.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    The things I really liked about this historical novel were the 18th-century colonial Massachusetts setting and the eye-opening look at how few rights women had in colonial times. What I didn't like was the back-and-forth, back-and-forth between the main character, Lyddie, and two men: a Native American neighbor and her lawyer, Eben Freeman. I felt like the author was kind of jerking me around about her relationship with both of them and whether or not the two men were good or bad. It got tedious The things I really liked about this historical novel were the 18th-century colonial Massachusetts setting and the eye-opening look at how few rights women had in colonial times. What I didn't like was the back-and-forth, back-and-forth between the main character, Lyddie, and two men: a Native American neighbor and her lawyer, Eben Freeman. I felt like the author was kind of jerking me around about her relationship with both of them and whether or not the two men were good or bad. It got tedious after a while. But if you like historical novels that illuminate the role of women in history or like books about colonial New England, check it out. Author Sally Gunning also has a new book out, Bound, which revisits some of the characters in this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Bazzett

    Great read - compelling, page-turning historical fiction with a romantic triangle twist, yet so very LITerary too. I found this book because the jacket copy in another more recent book, John Smolens' THE SCHOOLMASTER'S DAUGHTER, compared that book to Gunning's. I'm so glad I followed through on that comparison. I tore through this story, although I wanted to savor it. It was that good, so good you hate to put it down because you can't wait to see what happens next. It's a 1760s tale from colonial Great read - compelling, page-turning historical fiction with a romantic triangle twist, yet so very LITerary too. I found this book because the jacket copy in another more recent book, John Smolens' THE SCHOOLMASTER'S DAUGHTER, compared that book to Gunning's. I'm so glad I followed through on that comparison. I tore through this story, although I wanted to savor it. It was that good, so good you hate to put it down because you can't wait to see what happens next. It's a 1760s tale from colonial Massachusetts, set in a tiny fishing village on Cape Cod. Lydia Berry is widowed by a fishing accident in which her husband of 20 years is drowned. Only then does she begin to realize her vassal-like state, as attempts are made to have her sign away all rights to the home her husband had built and where she had given birth to her daughter and her stillborn and short-lived sons. Henceforth she is to be called Widow Berry and is expected to live in a spare room of her daughter's house under the sufferance of her onerous son-in-law, who naturally expects to take over everything that once belonged to Lyddie. She rebels, and refuses to sign the necessary papers that would leave her homeless and beggarly. A local lawyer takes an interest in Lyddie, and in more than a legal manner. So too does her nearest neighbor, known mostly as "the Indian,". He gives her employment, first nursing his sick wife, then (after the wife dies) as a domestic, but this begins to develop into something deeper, although a lifetime of racial predjudice against blacks and "Indians" doesn't just melt away for Lydia. Eyebrows are raised and tongues wag in the community at this reversal of roles and the delicious possiblity of miscegenation. Lyddie Berry brought to mind another fictional Lydia, the heroine of Molly Gloss's fine novel, THE JUMP-OFF CREEK, set in frontier Oregon in the 1800s. Both are extremely strong and independent characters, despite the separation of an entire continent and more than a hundred years. All of the principals of THE WIDOW'S WAR are many-dimensional and intriguingly human, but Sally Gunning's heroine Lyddie Berry is a character you won't soon forget. If you want a good read that will immediately catch you up, I can't recommend this book highly enough. Go for it! - Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Lyddie Edwards received her widows thirds from her son by marriage because in 1761 it was illegal for a woman to own property. A widow might be entitled to life use of one third of her husbands property but title went to the nearest male heir despite their relative abilities. Lyddie like so many widows of whalers was used to being responsible for herself while her husband, Edward, was at sea. A whalers wife must see to herself, her children and her household for months while the men sailed to tr Lyddie Edwards received her widows thirds from her son by marriage because in 1761 it was illegal for a woman to own property. A widow might be entitled to life use of one third of her husbands property but title went to the nearest male heir despite their relative abilities. Lyddie like so many widows of whalers was used to being responsible for herself while her husband, Edward, was at sea. A whalers wife must see to herself, her children and her household for months while the men sailed to trade or to hunt whales. To suddenly revert to her childhood status of dependency was beyond her willingness to bend to societies strictures and restraints. Lyddie saw herself perpetually bent to the whim of her tyrannical son-in-law, Nathan Clarke, in fear of overstepping her widow's proper role. Mourning Edward and filled with regrets for the lost easy companionship she had with her husband Lyddie dreaded the narrowing circumscription she saw as her future. Instead she is inspired by her husband's lawyer and friend, Eben Freeman, to defend her self against her guardian. In increasingly open defiance of all that is expected of a woman she removes herself from his household and returns to take up residence in her third of the house she once lived in. Following this began a a sniping guerilla war between Lyddie and Nathan, her various neighbors, supporters and detractors, as to how much a woman could and should live with the 'liberty of one's own house'. This is not a black and white story with Lyddie the pure and driven woman against the vindictive Nathan, the church, the law, and society. Instead they are all people trying their best to live a difficult time, in a new country with many pressures and diverging goals. No one is right, or wrong, so everyone ends up compromising in some fashion to achieve an answer to the question "Are you content in your house?" For mystery buffs, while the Edward's death is not a mystery to the men involved Lyddie's understanding of events is. A part of the plot revolves around her piecing together the various tales of Edward's last whale hunt.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jacqie

    Four and a half stars, really. This book was about a woman's struggle for independence in colonial Massachusetts. After being widowed from her fisherman husband, Liddie Berry is swept along in life's changes. She is expected to live the rest of her life with her daughter and jerk of a son-in-law,utterly dependent on them for any money, living space and food. All her belongings were really her husbands, and they all revert to her son-in-law. Liddie, to the surprise of herself as much as anyone, de Four and a half stars, really. This book was about a woman's struggle for independence in colonial Massachusetts. After being widowed from her fisherman husband, Liddie Berry is swept along in life's changes. She is expected to live the rest of her life with her daughter and jerk of a son-in-law,utterly dependent on them for any money, living space and food. All her belongings were really her husbands, and they all revert to her son-in-law. Liddie, to the surprise of herself as much as anyone, decides at the last minute that she will instead live on her "widow's thirds", one third of the house she and her husband lived on, wood from the woodlot, and a cow. Liddie, unsurprisingly in this time, has never tried to live on her own. She tries to figure out how to feed herself, make enough money to survive, and get along in town. She is both helped and hindered by Eben Freeman, her husband's lawyer. Sam Cowett, her Indian neighbor whom she had always somewhat feared, becomes a much bigger presence in her life. There's a fair bit of semi-romance in this book. Liddie has several men interested in her, but she is trying very hard to be true to herself and learn to be alone. I thought that Liddie took this a bit far sometimes. There were times when she could have used just a bit of charm and made life much easier for herself. But Liddie doesn't really believe in charm, she believes in self-examination and trying to be true to herself, even at the expense of severing relationships and putting herself on the outs with the town (a dangerous choice when almost all of her supplies and possible help in case of emergency are there). I did understand her terror at being at the utter mercy of even a well-meaning man. There's a great quote in the book by Liddie's now-dead husband: "the hardest thing in life is to learn to be half of a whole, and yet whole oneself." I'm not sure I have that exactly right, but it captures the push and pull of a marriage, the effort to be in the most intimate partnership in the world and yet be true to oneself. I wish the book had contained just a bit more at the end. I wanted to know what happened next.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mckinley

    I like historical fiction and when it's well done I enjoy it all the more. The Widow's War is both an intriguing story and a social study on the structure of a 1700 century whaling village in Massachusetts. Lyddie Berry has taken good care of her home and her family for 20 years while her successful whale hunting husband is away. Her constant worry is that her husband will not return home. This sad case is exactly what happens at the start of the story. In the midst of her grief she must also come I like historical fiction and when it's well done I enjoy it all the more. The Widow's War is both an intriguing story and a social study on the structure of a 1700 century whaling village in Massachusetts. Lyddie Berry has taken good care of her home and her family for 20 years while her successful whale hunting husband is away. Her constant worry is that her husband will not return home. This sad case is exactly what happens at the start of the story. In the midst of her grief she must also come to terms with losing her autonomy; her property and rights are now in the hands of her nearest male relative. Unfortunately in her case this is her domineering son-in-law. Finding herself unable to live under his roof, she struggles against complying with his wishes. Under the law, she is entitled to one third of the house she shared with her husband or one third the profit from its sale along with only the goods she brought to her marriage some twenty years earlier. Searching for a way to recreate her life leads her to defy her guardian. As a result, she finds herself at odds with her family, her community including the church, and the law. In attempting to provide for herself she comes into conflict with her role and place in society. Yet, she must establish a new life for herself - one that honors her as an individual and as a woman. What is most compelling about the tale, is how Lyddie handles the new experiences she faces. Her growth, courage, and wit make this an entertaining and enlightening story.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    It is often the small, unknown details of history that can be woven into historical fiction that change our perception of a time or place. In The Widow’s War, Sally Gunning deftly brings to life an aspect of colonial law. Anyone who has studied history knows that life in America in the 1760s was difficult, and that the area of Cape Cod Massachusetts was dependent on the sea, which in turn produced many widows. What may not be known by the average reader was the law which entitled a widow to the It is often the small, unknown details of history that can be woven into historical fiction that change our perception of a time or place. In The Widow’s War, Sally Gunning deftly brings to life an aspect of colonial law. Anyone who has studied history knows that life in America in the 1760s was difficult, and that the area of Cape Cod Massachusetts was dependent on the sea, which in turn produced many widows. What may not be known by the average reader was the law which entitled a widow to the life use of one third of her husband’s real estate, with the actual title passing to the nearest living male heir. The Widow’s War not only illustrates the results of this practice it also examines the relationships of Indians and White settlers, the birth of Independence and the rights of man, as well as social mores of the time. Sally Gunning, a native of Massachusetts, has done her homework, and provided the reader with a cleverly imagined exploration of what a young widow in 1761 may experience. Historical fiction can sometimes become dry and dull as it tries to “teach” the reader, and include the necessary facts. Gunning however creates characters that struggle with real human emotion, making them accessible to the modern reader. She is an author to watch!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    Triumphantly so, "Widow's War" is a grand masterpiece. Everything - story...pace...style...character-development...mechanics...validity...relevance - golden five-star praise. Widow's War is an ebb and flow awakening story of cornerstone importance, capturing the essences of social, spiritual, political, and cultural customs during pre-Revolutionary America. It's 1761 in a small Cape Cod village and the sea of change churns up a mighty storm. Billowing through skirts weary of unjust property and i Triumphantly so, "Widow's War" is a grand masterpiece. Everything - story...pace...style...character-development...mechanics...validity...relevance - golden five-star praise. Widow's War is an ebb and flow awakening story of cornerstone importance, capturing the essences of social, spiritual, political, and cultural customs during pre-Revolutionary America. It's 1761 in a small Cape Cod village and the sea of change churns up a mighty storm. Billowing through skirts weary of unjust property and inheritance laws, Lyddie Berry roils from the injustices forced upon her at the death of her husband. And though she's shunned by family, friends, and community, Widow Berry resolves to acquire a self-sustaining quality life on her terms - terms meted out through unprecedented legal maneuverings and controversial social challenges. Without a doubt, those who enjoy noteworthy literature, historical fiction, and/or sociological relevant novels will be utterly captivated by Widow Berry's tug-of-war journey. And those who simply love crisp, tight, prose-tinted literature will be pleasantly surprised. "Widow's War" is literary excellence. It's by far the best book I've read in quite awhile.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lauriann

    This satisfied my need for a now-and-then historical fiction read. The time is the 1760's, the place is Cape Cod and the era is Whaling. Lyddie is widowed as a result of a sea accident. She finds herself suddenly under the legal control of her mean and bullying son-in-law. Lyddie is feisty and is a 200 year old fore-runner of Betty Friedan as she tries to maintain her independence from his "rule." Legally she is entitled to live in one third of the home she created and shared with her now decea This satisfied my need for a now-and-then historical fiction read. The time is the 1760's, the place is Cape Cod and the era is Whaling. Lyddie is widowed as a result of a sea accident. She finds herself suddenly under the legal control of her mean and bullying son-in-law. Lyddie is feisty and is a 200 year old fore-runner of Betty Friedan as she tries to maintain her independence from his "rule." Legally she is entitled to live in one third of the home she created and shared with her now deceased husband. But only one third. With her son-in-law controlling the remaining two thirds, she had every reason to fight for a woman's rights. I could related to her sentiments of desperately needing a place to call her own where she can live independently, albeit in near poverty. She rises from the ashes and in doing so is a like-able character. Two or three times I laughed out loud at something sarcastic or funny she said. I wish there had been more of those moments because they were so rich with humor.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina

    What a GREAT book!!!!! In trying to explain this book to a co-worker yesterday, I realized I'll never do justice to the story-line. It sounded so boring, coming out of my mouth, BUT it's not. Between the great writing, solid plot, a couple of twists and a little suspense (which I did not see coming), this book really kept me up all night trying to finish. I have to admit, I could have done without the slight suspense presented . . . I would rather have had a logical explanation come out about why What a GREAT book!!!!! In trying to explain this book to a co-worker yesterday, I realized I'll never do justice to the story-line. It sounded so boring, coming out of my mouth, BUT it's not. Between the great writing, solid plot, a couple of twists and a little suspense (which I did not see coming), this book really kept me up all night trying to finish. I have to admit, I could have done without the slight suspense presented . . . I would rather have had a logical explanation come out about why it just wouldn't work. But all in all a great book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shirley

    I loved reading this story of a determined, fiesty widow trying to retain control of her home after the death of her husband. The novel is set in 1760 when women had no right to own property so when Lyddie's fisherman husband drowns she is thrown of the mercies of her controlling son-in-law. His main concern is to make money from her property and drive her out of her home. Both widow and son-in-law are ingenious in the relentlessness. A pleasure to read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    May

    I liked it. More 3.5 stars than 4. I found myself anxious for the Widow throughout the story. The story line was developed skillfully: portraying the cultural, religious and legal strictures that controlled a woman's choices in early American life. I do recommend it to readers of HF and strong women.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Really, really liked this book. I'm always intrigued by the hand women were so unfairly dealt throughout history. I would've given it 5 stars but there were a few parts that seemed to ramble needlessly. All in all, great read if you like strong female characters set within historical contexts.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    I really liked this excellent book- historical fiction at it's best! Very well-written, it's the engrossing story of one woman's struggle to keep her home after her husband dies at sea, and of her search for love and personal freedom on her own terms.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Sally Gunning writes an excellent story with writing that brings vivid images and well-developed characters. This is the second book I have read by her and am beginning a third. Bravo!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Loved this book. Loved the setting, loved the characters, loved the plot. This author has a great talent for writing early American historical fiction that is completely believable.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I've read some of the review of this book and there seems to be little middle ground. Either its the best or terrible. Many people are either not aware or have forgotten that until 1972 Women could not get Credit cards in their own name by law. Many banks would not allow a woman to have their own checking or savings account without a man co-signing. This is not that long ago. And perhaps it is because of this knowledge that I found the book engrossing. I worried initially that it was going to go I've read some of the review of this book and there seems to be little middle ground. Either its the best or terrible. Many people are either not aware or have forgotten that until 1972 Women could not get Credit cards in their own name by law. Many banks would not allow a woman to have their own checking or savings account without a man co-signing. This is not that long ago. And perhaps it is because of this knowledge that I found the book engrossing. I worried initially that it was going to go off the rails into a romance. And it didn't, thankfully. The Widow's War is set in the mid to late 1760s, just prior to the outset of the Revolutionary war. The main character, Lyddie, loses her husband to the sea. And she goes from being a woman trusted to run her home and make decisions in her husband's sea faring absences to her son in law's ward. It is a predicament that 21st century women, for all our "me too" anger and equality seeking, would find absolutely untenable. But Lyddie will risk much to achieve even a modicum of restored autonomy. I liked the book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tammy Dayton

    Extraordinary writing! I felt as if I was reading a primary document. The use of language and how people spoke immediately sent me to the time period pre Revolutionary. I would highly recommend this book to a fan of historical fiction. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.